Problems with QIF import for checking account - category matching seems horribly designed

Derek Atkins warlord at MIT.EDU
Thu Dec 29 10:23:59 EST 2005

the QIF import process hasn't changed significantly in MANY major versions
of gnucash..  You always have to match categories to accounts before the
import.  And yes, the importer DOES handle split transactions just fine.

Yes, it tries to remember the mappings across runs so you don't need to
enter them multiple times.

I think part of your confusion is that gnucash doesn't use categories.
Gnucash only uses accounts.  What you think of as a category really
maps into a specific Income or Expense account.  The mapping process
is how you tell gnucash which GnuCash Account you want to use for a
specific QIF Category.

As I said, this process has not changed significantly in several years
and across multiple gnucash versions.  Nothing has been "added" to make
it more difficult.  There are subsystems to make it /easier/ across
multiple runs.

No, there is no way to bypass the mapping pages, but you could just click
"next" if you don't mind having it create accounts with the same name
as your categories, all at the top level of your data file.  This is
certainly not the RECOMMENDED way to import, but do whatever works for
you.   Keep in mind that the importer remembers the account /name/ --
so if you later change the account name or move the account around in
your hierachy the importer will not notice the change and will, instead,
use the old, original mapping name for future imports..   (Unless you
change it at a later date).

Good Luck,


Quoting Randy Burgess <rburgess at>:

> For one reason or another I haven't used the QIF import function in 
> about a year. Today I just made my first try at importing a QIF for 
> my checking account, and to my dismay the functionality has been 
> altered to effectively make it useless -  unless there's some clever 
> trick I'm missing. (This is Gnucash 1.8.11 on Gentoo.)
> Here's the problem: The import wizard forces you to match categories 
> before it proceeds to actually do the import. The idea seems to be 
> that it will remember the matches and automate this process the next 
> time around.
> But why does it need to match categories like this in the first 
> place? It didn't used to, back in previous versions (whatever I was 
> using a year ago).
> Obviously this process can't handle splits, of which I have many. It 
> can't handle the fact that for many of my payees, I have more than 
> one category depending on the nature of the expense.
> So basically the import is more trouble than it's worth. And I 
> haven't found any options to get around the problem.

       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL:    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       warlord at MIT.EDU                        PGP key available

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